Once you take a bite of this gluten free chocolate babka, you'll wonder what took you so long to try one. Sweet dough swirled with a chocolate filling is truly a slice of heaven!!
Are there any Seinfeld fans out there? I used to LOVE Seinfeld and if you know anything about the show, you'll know about the babka episode. Elaine and Jerry were standing in line at a bakery waiting to purchase a chocolate babka. If I can remember right, the person before them got the last chocolate babka and all they had left was a cinnamon one. That spawned a whole debate over which is better and then they found a hair and...yada, yada, yada (another Seinfeld reference haha!) it went on and on.
What Is Babka?
I had never had babka until I made it gluten free, and realized fast that I had to give it away or I would eat the whole thing myself (not lying). I'm currently home by myself so I can't keep this stuff in my house, ya know what I mean?
Babka is a traditional Jewish pastry that's kind of a cross between a cake and a bread. It's dense and rich and I love the way the chocolate gets all crackly in the spots that are exposed on top. Babka has layers of sweet bread contrasting with sticky chocolate filling.
How Do I Make Gluten Free Babka?
Babka starts out like an innocent cinnamon roll, and for my gluten free version I use my cinnamon roll dough. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle and smear it with a mixture of cocoa, butter, a dash of cinnamon, and sugar. But instead of cutting into individual rolls, split it right down the middle lengthwise. Then twist the two halves together to create a swirl effect when baked. It's not only super tasty, but also very cool to look at. To me, it kinda looks like a zebra cake 😉
While the gluten free babka is baking, make a sugar syrup by boiling equal parts sugar and water for about 3 minutes. Let cool. As soon as the babka comes out of the oven, poke it all over with a long wooden skewer and slowly pour the sugar syrup all over the top.
I finally figured out what was missing in my baking (and eating) life. THIS gluten free chocolate babka!! I bet you'll feel the same as soon as you make it 🙂
Gluten Free Chocolate Babka
- ½ recipe ultimate gluten free cinnamon roll dough
- ½ cup (1 stick, 113 g) butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup (35 g) cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped medium fine
FOR THE SYRUP:
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup water
- Make gluten free cinnamon roll dough as per instructions (including proofing for 2 hours and chilling overnight).
- Combine butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and cinnamon in bowl of stand mixer (or use hand held mixer) and beat for a few minutes until creamed and well combined.
- Remove dough from refrigerator and knead briefly on lightly floured surface (extra Kim's gluten free bread flour blend OR a sprinkling of tapioca starch or other flour blend). Roll dough out to a large rectangle, about 10-12 inches (it doesn't need to be exact). Spread chocolate filling to the edges, leaving a one-inch gap at the top width wise. Sprinkle chopped chocolate over filling and roll up, pinching seam to seal. Put roll on parchment-lined small baking sheet, seam side down, and cover with plastic wrap. Place in freezer for 15-20 minutes.
- Line an 8 ½ by 4-inch loaf pan with a piece of parchment paper that overhangs on each long side. Spray paper with nonstick spray.
- Remove roll from freezer and, using kitchen shears or a very sharp knife, cut down center of roll lengthwise to expose chocolate filling. Twist the two halves together (it will get a little messy). Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about an hour. It may not double in size, which is perfectly fine.
- Bake in a 350° oven for 40 minutes. While babka is baking, add ⅓ cup granulated sugar to a very small saucepan. Slowly pour ⅓ cup water around outer edge of sugar. This helps prevent sugar crystals from forming along sides of pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- When babka has finished baking, remove from oven and prick all over with long wooden skewer. Slowly pour sugar syrup all over babka. Allow babka to cool completely before serving.
- To keep babka moist and fresh, wrap entire babka in plastic wrap. To freeze, wrap in plastic wrap and then in foil and place in freezer. Will keep in freezer for about 3 months.
- This recipe may be doubled to make two gluten free chocolate babkas. Use an entire recipe of ultimate gluten free cinnamon roll dough, but divide in half and work with one half at a time. Double filling ingredients and spread half over each half of dough. Increase sugar syrup ingredients to ⅔ cup each sugar and water.